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Workers in UK Swindon march to save Honda plant

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Workers from Japanese car maker Honda gather for a demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in London on March 6, 2019 to urge the government to help persuade the company to reverse its decision to close its UK factory in Swindon. (AFP photo)

Thousands of workers and their family members have attended a mass rally in the UK town of Swindon to ask Japanese carmaker Honda to reverse its decision to close its factory in the city as concerns grow over job security after Britain’s departure from the European Union.

Workers and their families joined community leaders and politicians attending the rally in southwest England on Saturday as they urged Honda executives to scrap their plans for closing down the factory in Swindon, a move which union leaders say would result in the loss of 3,500 jobs.

“We demand British workers are treated with equal dignity as the Honda workers in Japan,” said head of the Unite union Len McCluskey during a speech in the rally.

Experts say thousands of more jobs will be lost in the supply chain if Honda goes ahead with its plans to cease operations in Swindon in 2021.

The Japanese carmaker revealed its decision for closure of Swindon factory in an announcement last month. The move came as a huge shock to the local community while it caused serious concerns for the future of heavy industries in the UK.

Honda said the decision had nothing to do with Britain’s imminent departure from the EU although experts believe the company prefers to expand the industry into other EU countries to offset potential economic shocks from Brexit.

Major international firms have announced plans downsizing their operations in the UK, a move many believe is closely related to Brexit. Nissan, another Japanese giant carmaker, said earlier this year that it had cancelled plans to build one of its new models at its UK plant in Sunderland.

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